ATLANTA - Atlanta Police have launched an internal investigation to find out if any officers made errors while investigating a missing Atlanta Airport worker's disappearance, and how most of the airport surveillance tracking her movements ended up deleted.
The body of Shanequa Sullivan, 23, was found March 3 in Newton County along the Yellow River, 40 miles away from the airport. She was last seen February 4 around the airport after her shift ended, and her family had filed a Missing Persons report with Atlanta Police and the Missing Persons/Homicide unit.
By the time Newton County investigators positively identified Sullivan and tried to find surveillance to track her steps the day of her disappearance, Atlanta Police admitted most of the airport video had been deleted.
"We were informed that the Atlanta Airport police department video was only stored for a 28-day period," said Investigator Jeff Alexander with the Newton County Sheriff's Office at a press conference days ago.
Alexander told FOX 5 Friday, the video would have been "helpful" to determine if Sullivan asked for help or if someone approached the woman for a ride, or if someone around the airport was involved in her death that's being called "suspicious."
Sullivan, who family members said had the learning ability of a fifth grader, always took MARTA to go home after her janitorial job at the airport. Investigators said Sullivan left work and tried to use her Breeze Card, and when it did not work, went back upstairs to the airport; most of the video, Atlanta Police said, cannot be recovered.
"I have no words for Atlanta Police. I'm too full of rage right now," said Sylesta Seabrum, Shanequa's grandmother, who said she kept asking for surveillance to be reviewed in the days following her disappearance. "I thought that video probably could have saved.. she might have been alive, who knows?"
Atlanta Police released the following statement:
"We are opening an internal investigation to determine why that video was not secured. We have been able to locate some video of her coming back inside the airport, but it does not track all of her movements. We are working to provide that video to Newton County investigators."
Police said the Office of Professional Standards will perform the investigation and will review all protocol followed by officers in the course of their missing persons' investigation.